Do you know the Rodney legend? You don’t? I guess you weren’t there when Granny told us the story. Ok, let me start at the beginning.
Now, we all know every jungle must have a king. Or is it that every King must have a jungle? I get confused around that bit. Anyways, Rodney was the said King of our jungle and like any self-respecting King he spent all his day under the Banyan tree surveying his subjects.
One never knew if he was sleeping or watching the world pass by with his eyes closed. But I suppose Kings have an All-Seeing Eye which made them act detached from the world yet stay on top of matters in some mysterious way.
On her first day as a Queen, Rhonda woke up before dawn and went to the
By mid-morning, Rodney’s Royal duties took precedence. He walked around the Banyan Tree twice, stared at the gazelles and dared them to run. When they gave him no second thought he sat down quietly under the shade of the Banyan, half closed his eyes and began dreaming about lunch; A juicy piece of Beef steak.
Rhonda spent most of her morning preparing a scrumptious meal fit for a king – beef steaks, lamb patties, chicken kebabs, vegetable au gratin to balance the meat and a big chocolate cake to round it all off. Rodney sniffed the air. Something delicious was moving his way. He peeked through one eye and saw Rhonda walking slowly towards him, the plates laden with all his favourites. He got up, shook his golden mane and let out a happy roar.
Thus a routine was set. Every afternoon, when a loud roar reverberated through the jungle, everyone knew it was lunch hour. An invisible clock was set in motion and even Harry the Hare stopped checking his watch.
A Royal pattern emerged; the wild river whimpered into a soft stream over pebbles. Rodney stopped his walks around The Banyan and spent most of his days on his tummy and the rest on his back while Rhonda led the pride on various expeditions across the greens. Soon his tummy grew as big as his mane and he could no longer wrestle Zizou nor lie on his back.
That’s when Rhonda devised her master plan. She would not clear Rodney’s bones after his lunch. It would be part of his Royal responsibility to keep his seat clean and to make the journey to the trash pit by their lair. Rodney listened to his wife half-asleep, wondering if he could pass a bill to stop all wives from wasting precious time on responsibilities when it could be spent watching the rhinos play catch. Yes, that would be his crowning achievement and he would be hailed King of All Jungles. As Rodney smiled at his idea, Rhonda romped to the lair confident her plan would work.
Funny, how the ways of the jungle are. Rodney preferred staying on his tummy to the Royal Responsibility and he just let the bones pile up. But he couldn’t bear to stare at the dirty bones, so he turned around and took an undue interest in the Margosa orchard on the other side. With his back to the mound, he neither noticed the growing pile nor the family of rodents that moved in and grew large with the mound.
The rodents grazed his rear end as they shunted between the bones and their hovel. But Rodney, who was now as big as the Banyan itself, was too lazy to move a paw to remove the cause of the itch. If only someone would come to his aid. He looked at the wild boar walking into the orchard, opened his mouth to call, and then decided against it. And so they remained, the rodents, Rodney and his grazed rear end, all in perfect harmony; Till Rhonda threw a fit.
It was when she cleared the bones and chased the last fat rodent from under Rodney’s tail, she saw it. A big red sore on Rodney’s back. Rodney was fast asleep, when Zizou returned with Augura, the jungle doctor. One look at the sore and Augura gave Rodney a thwack as loud as his roar and said, “Rodney! You maybe the King of the Jungle but you still have to scratch your own ass!”